A year ago anger became a huge concern for us. Any area of our children’s life that is out of order quickly brings me to my knees, approaching the Lord and seeking Him for help.
Through the months of working with him, he still struggled with “levels” of emotion. Black and white thinking, with no shades of grade can be a blessing in some ways like the fact that he believes the Word of God and it means all that it says and that is a wonderful thing! But what with no shades of grey when one is hurt leaves a challenge – the all or nothing like: life is grand and now I am so hurt that emotions of anger have taken over my life, is not the order God intended for our lives.
We began sharing what God says about anger. “be slow to anger” and talked about how God understands our weaknesses and is patient to get us where He wants us. That he knows all about him and loves him in this process. Daily prayer over this matter and asking for God’s help became a routine with my boy.
We began teaching him shades of grey with our hair dryer! It has levels! Anger is a valid feeling. And I will Praise God that this anger we saw was NEVER out of rebellion or disrespect. This kid excels in honoring his mother and father.
Deciphering between a small moment of hurt, an intense hurt and so on was difficult for him. His impulsive reaction at times was to retaliate. I am hurt, therefore I am REALLY angry. It was always a response to a legitimate frustration. All feelings were valid. It was the intensity and often confusion for him to know how to react to each thing that was against him. The ability to filter through a wrong done, hurt inflicted, and how to respond in each varying situation is a lot. When little to “us” anything seemed huge to him.
The levels on the hair dryer were a good starting point to implement levels of hurt. Whether it be emotional hurt or physical hurt it all added up to intense anger. He is allowed to express his hurt, walking him through and validating his pain. HE has become great in communicating this way. Which is a Praise the LORD moment again, because getting out his thoughts used to be so challenged.
Each time we would walk through the cycle, listening, working on proper expression and self control, praying with him. It often held on and didn’t want to let go easy.
A few months ago I had someone asked us about counseling. I thought for a moment and wondered what that would be all about. I mean we have the Lord working this out for us, we are repetitiously role playing and such to show him the varying ways to process. So for kicks I looked up therapy for ADD and cognitive disabilities.
This is what I found:
CBT – Cognitive Brain Therapy. It sounded really high tech and wondered what this technique is they use.
This is what I found:
“CBT for children with ADD is aimed largely at improving their behavior through praise and rewards that motivate them to calm down enough to cope with challenges. Parents or teachers would be trained to reward a child with praise or small treats for paying attention and responding to requests….”
Well that sounds like Deuteronomy 6:5. My home schooling verse! “teach your children diligently day and night”….
I took the idea of reward and went with it! For a mere $1 for some sports cards from the local Dollar Store we were doing Cognitive Brain Therapy in the School for Wild n’ Crazy Boys! Continuing to implement the Word of God and His desire for wholeness in our lives, and catching him when he truly put in a heartfelt effort to transition, it is paying off! Praise be to God. Taking him daily in each issue and repetitiously reminding him, showing him how to decipher, etc .etc. we are seeing God work. Transitions from frustration to forgiveness to moving on are coming much quicker. And the levels of intensity are dissolving and he’s recognizing – that wasn’t that bad and moving on.
His heart truly wants to do right. His frontal cortex of his brain where these impulses, critical thinking and such experienced a stroke make it a CHALLENGE greater for him than the average brain.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. WE all have challenges. And some of us have EVEN more challenges than the rest.
For us we see that God raised this boy to life in the NICU, and HE isn’t finished with him yet. HE has a plan to prosper him (which he has), to give him a future and a hope. So we rely heavy on the Lord for how to empathize with his struggles, and training him to lean on the Lord as His Savior to overcome. And since birth and each area that has needed shaping and extra help and support – God has already overcome much in him! Often people view him as a regular kid and don’t even perhaps, believe the challenges he has had. To that I say PRAISE BE TO GOD who can do far more than we could ever imagine. What they are seeing is the work of the LORD – truly!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Eph 6:10
*** ADD is not his full (medical label, there is a mix of cognitive challenges with a scrambling of mixed messages going on in his brain that affect focus, learning, comprehension, and so much I couldn’t even write and explain here. Again. Praise BE to God!